The first jury session for Braun's 16th design competition "BraunPrize 2007 - Design a real future" is now complete and the judges have selected the projects that will progress to the second round of evaluation. Having commenced with hundreds of promising young designers from all corners of the world, a select few are now one step closer to winning one of the international design industry's highest accolades, the BraunPrize.
Sifting through over 900 entries from design students around the globe might seem a daunting task but jury member Mark Breitenberg, the Dean of Undergraduate Education at Art Center College of Design, has found the experience anything but, saying "I've spent some really inspiring days here in Kronberg; the work we have seen has really invigorated all of the jury members". Peter Schneider, Director of Corporate Design at Braun and Chairman of the panel, agrees, "I have greatly enjoyed the time I have spent with the jury discussing the remarkable range of designs that have been entered".
The judging panel consists of several eminent designers from different backgrounds. Peter is joined by fellow colleague Udo Milutzki, Vice President of Gillette/Braun engineering, while guest jurors include Moni Wolf, Director of Design at Motorola, iDEN and Dr. Mark Breitenberg, Dean of Undergraduate Education at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Benjamin Holch, a designer and design analyst for frog design Europe GmbH also joins the judging panel. As the BraunPrize winner in 2003, Benjamin Holch's inclusion as part of the jury marks the first time that a recent winner of the competition has been invited to serve as part of the panel.
This year, the jury has been struck by the high standard of the entries, particularly in their innovative approaches that "consistently addressed the high expectations and quality which is associated with Braun and Braun Design", in the words of Moni Wolf. However some jury members found the process affecting as well as stimulating, most notably Benjamin Holch: "I was involved in the BraunPrize when I was a student in 2003, so I know what it's like to have your work critically appraised and to wait for the results to come through. I know I need to be objective but I'm still empathising with all the participants!" he says.
The scope of entered projects this year revealed several emerging themes that point toward design developments in the near future. Mark Breitenberg noted in particular a tendency for 'inclusive' design projects - design for ageing populations, design for disabilities, all kinds of medical equipment and use of technology to monitor health. "My impression is that these made up 50 percent of the work that we selected for closer examination," he said. Benjamin Holch agreed, also noting the significant proportion of health-oriented projects.
Moni Wolf, taking a different approach, was particularly "excited by the strong technology entrants" where she saw a lot of products centred on new technologies, in particular those for communications, while Peter Schneider focused more on high standards across the board, saying "What is particularly interesting for me is the realisation that the next generation of designers are sensitive to the needs of consumers and that they possess a wide range of in-depth technical understanding."
The BraunPrize is an international competition in every sense, attracting participants from all over the globe. This huge reach has created an impressive diversity of submitted projects. Says Mark Breitenberg, "It's interesting to monitor the different submissions from different countries and accordingly their individual character. Even though we're living in a globalised industry you can still recognize the cultural and national influences on the designs...and that's really fun to see!"
Reflecting this cultural diversity, the jury selected 68 projects from 17 nations to progress into the second round of voting. The second jury session will take place on the 11th-13th June in Cityhall Kronberg, Germany, a prospect that Benjamin Holch relishes: "I'm really looking forward to the next jury session where I expect to see some fascinating takes on the application of design as a process."
The winner of the BraunPrize will be announced at an awards ceremony held on September 12th.